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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

The seventh war (1579-1580)

Despite the advent of peace, fighting and raids resumed, most of them led by the prince de Condé on behalf of the Huguenots. He decided to attack La Fère on 29 November 1579, which marked the beginning of the seventh war. This was the so-called "war of the lovers" because, according to the story propagated by Agrippa d’Aubigné, the hostilities began because of Marguerite de Valois and her amorous intrigues. This conflict was smaller than its predecessors. First, because it did not involve all of the Protestant communities. Certain historic "fiefcoms" such as La Rochelle and the lions share of Languedoc refused to get involved. Second, because Henri de Navarre himself seemed on the verge of remaining neutral, although he later took up arms in reaction to the maréchal de Biron's actions in Guyenne. Despite his glorious feats at the siege of Cahors (28 May–1 June 1580, where he showed real military aptitude, the war turned in favour of the crown. Negotiations were undertaken with the duc d’Anjou as mediator, culminating in the signature of the Treaty of Fleix on 26 November 1580, which was confirmed by Henri III on 26 December of the same year.

There was still a long way to go between the signature of the Treaty of Fleix in 1580 and the Edict of Nantes. The treaty offered a respite to both sides that lasted four years. However, on 10 June 1584, François d’Anjou, Henri III's brother and designed successor since Henri III and Louise de Vaudémont were childless, died of tuberculosis. The idea of seeing Henri de Navarre – a Protestant and relapsed heretic – accede to the throne under the provisions of the Salic Law was intolerable to the most hard-line Catholics. Their reaction was swift in coming, and in September 1584, they created a new league, once again under the leadership of the Guise. At nearly the same time, a radical, working-class "Holy League" was created in Paris.

Related multimedia

Title: Procession of the League

Procession of the League in Paris, in 1590 or 1593
© Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet
Caption:
Procession of the League, emerging from the arcade Saint-Jean of the Hôtel de Ville, in 1590 or 1593. Anonymous. Oil on canvas. Musée Carnavalet

Title: Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron

Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron
© Musée national du château de Pau / Jean-Yves Chermeux
Caption:
Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron (1524–1592) drawing by Thierry Bellange, 17th c. Musée national du château de Pau P.78.9.1.12

Title: Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron

Portrait of Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron
© RMN / René-Gabriel Ojéda
Caption:
Armand de Gontaud, baron de Biron (1524–1592) drawing by Thierry Bellange, 17th c. Musée national du château de Pau P.78.9.1.12
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